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Centenary University President Bruce Murphy announces plans to retire

Architect of a strategic plan for University growth, Dr. Murphy has guided Centenary through the global pandemic and significant expansion of academic programs.

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) — Centenary University President Bruce Murphy, Ed.D., Tuesday announced plans to retire from his post at the end of his current contract on June 30, 2023.

Currently in his third year as the 14th president of the University, Dr. Murphy guided Centenary through the global COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a significant expansion of academic programs, including five new healthcare degrees designed to meet emerging market needs.

Dr. Murphy and his wife, Centenary University First Lady Jeanne Murphy, arrived at the University on Jan. 1, 2020, just two months before the pandemic shuttered in-person government offices, businesses, and educational institutions, including Centenary. Under Dr. Murphy’s leadership, the University quickly pivoted to virtual instruction. “One of my proudest accomplishments as president is that Centenary didn’t miss one day of instruction as a result of the pandemic,” Dr. Murphy said. “That’s a testament to our dedicated faculty and staff, who were laser-focused on ensuring that Centenary students had educational stability during very uncertain times.”

Reflecting on his tenure, Dr. Murphy also cited the adoption of a strategic plan that has guided the continuing growth of the University. Through partnerships with influential educational and professional organizations, Centenary has introduced a host of new academic degrees and concentrations, including certified financial planning, data analytics, and computer science, as well as a broad expansion into the healthcare field with new degrees in medical laboratory science, health science, public health, exercise science, and RN to BSN nursing degree.

A retired US Army lieutenant colonel, Dr. Murphy is also dedicated to expanding college opportunities for enlisted service members and their families, as well as veterans. Centenary’s CMSgt Richard Etchberger Scholars Program established during Dr. Murphy’s presidency permits active duty air and space personnel to enroll at Centenary through the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) to complete bachelor’s degrees virtually.

Dr. Murphy will be assisting the search for his successor, as well as leading the search for the vice president for academic affairs (VPAA), currently held by interim VPAA David Dauwalder, Ph.D. “We have the opportunity to forge a strong leadership team by conducting these searches in tandem,” said Dr. Murphy. “I am very optimistic about the future of Centenary University.”

Dr. Murphy said he and his wife plan to return to Florida, where they own a home, to live closer to family in retirement. “I’m incredibly proud of everything the Centenary University community has accomplished over the past few years,” he said. “However, Jeanne and I are also looking forward to moving back home and reconnecting with our great-grandson, who just started kindergarten. We can’t wait to be more of a daily presence in his life.”

A search committee will be appointed by the University’s Board of Trustees to identify potential presidential candidates, according to Rochelle Makela-Goodman ’97, board chair.

“Dr. Murphy provided steady leadership at Centenary University during a time of great global uncertainty,” Makela-Goodman said. “I would like to thank him for his commitment to our mission, care for the safety of our learning community, and for his innovation during an unprecedented global health challenge. He and Jeanne will be missed.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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